January gets a bad rep. Let’s face it, the excitement of all the preceding festivities becomes a distant memory, the dark mornings and evenings seem to go on forever and we have to scroll through reems of diary to locate the next time there could, maybe, might, possibly be a sign of warmth.
But, if we look at things from a different, frosty window and dig deep for the silver linings, it’s certainly not all gloom and doom from where we’re sitting. Often referred to as ‘positive deviants,’ we at Waste Knot refuse to be one of the herd, turn the opposite way to the crowds and give long- standing norms, mentalities and processes a good old shake-up.
For too long now, the industries which we act as a matchmaker for have been on the rocky road of romance, losing the love, respect and connections with each other which we all know are cornerstones for a happy, long-lasting relationship. Enter right the Fairy Godmother (us) to wave their magic wand (shovel-shaped) to reignite the ways in which we can reshape, rework and rediscover lost pathways which used to fortify our bonds with food.
Agriculture and hospitality are inextricably linked with the people involved, albeit different in skills, motivation and utensils (Kramer vs Kramer has nothing on hoe vs ladle…) providing us with raw produce and intricately-styled dishes respectively. 2020 will see a resurgence of working with the seasons, with menus being farmer-led, chefs working in a more flexible way and the acceptance that big businesses must challenge decade-old ways of working in order to do the right thing.
We’re fortunate to be partnering with large contract caterers including Sodexo, Restaurant Associates and Baxter Storey as well as restaurants such as Church Rd, Parlour and member’s club, Allbright, all of which put sustainability as an underpinning value of their core business and adapt accordingly to allow that to happen. Flip the coin and the same values and forward-thinking can be seen on the farm. We work with progressive, revolutionary farmers who know that by taking a leap of faith and challenging the status quo, we can move mountains (of parsnips) together.
The relationship forged between the farmers, the chefs and Waste Knot, is one based on actual conversations between actual people which is of paramount importance as it means that lines of communication are constantly open, allowing for produce that, by nature, is unpredictable and unscripted. This also allows for true traceability and disclosure of provenance in a world where we all need a little more action to back-up all that conversation.
In this day and age where hunger is rife and where there is a desperate need for increasing volumes of healthy, nutritious food for a population growing at an incredibly rapid rate, there is no room for wastage OR the demand for ‘perfection.’ Neither acts of discarding or judging are acceptable reasons for seeing perfectly good food end-up in landfill or ploughed back into the ground. Ultimately, food is a leveller for us all. We must never forget where it comes from, the time, effort and financial commitments that go into growing it and how, we, as guardians of the planet, need to work with, not against, Mother Nature in all we do.
By Jess Latchford, founder of Waste Knot, whose mission is to save perfectly edible fresh produce from going to waste.